Volkswagen Air-Cooled 1970-1981 Repair Guide

IGNITION TIMING

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See Figures 1 through 11

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Fig. Fig. 1: Ignition timing marks (located on the crankshaft pulley)-1970 (before August) Type 1 models



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Fig. Fig. 2: Ignition timing marks-August 1970 to spring 1973 Type 1 carbureted models, all fuel injected Type 1 models with manual transaxles and 1971 Type 2 models



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Fig. Fig. 3: Ignition timing marks-spring 1973-1980 Type 1 models with single vacuum hose connected to the distributor



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Fig. Fig. 4: Ignition timing marks-fuel injected Type 1 models equipped with automatic stick shift transaxles and 1970 Type 2 models



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Fig. Fig. 5: Ignition timing marks-all 1972 and 1975 Type 2 models; 1973-74 Type 2 models equipped with automatic transaxles



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Fig. Fig. 6: Ignition timing marks-1973-74 Type 2 carbureted models with manual transaxles



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Fig. Fig. 7: Ignition timing marks-all 1976-78 Type 2 models and 1979-81 non-California Type 2 models



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Fig. Fig. 8: Ignition timing marks-1979-81 California Type 2 models



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Fig. Fig. 9: Ignition timing marks (located on the engine cooling fan)-1970-71 Type 3 models



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Fig. Fig. 10: Ignition timing marks-1972-73 Type 3 models



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Fig. Fig. 11: Ignition timing marks-1971-74 Type 4 models

Dwell or point gap must be set before the timing is set. Also, the idle speed must be set to specifications.

The engine must be warmed up before the timing is set (oil temperature of 122ordm;F-158ordm;F.).

  1. Connect a timing light. On most VWs, you won't be able to hook the timing light power leads to the battery, therefore, connect the positive lead from the timing light to terminal #15 on the ignition coil, and hook the negative lead from the test light to ground (intake manifold, etc.). This procedure is for DC lights only and cannot be used on Hall electronic ignition systems.
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After hooking up the timing light according to manufacturer's instructions, disconnect the vacuum hose, if so advised by the "Tune-up Specifications" chart, and re-adjust the idle speed if necessary.

On Hall electronic ignition systems, the idle stabilizer must be bypassed before the idle can be adjusted. See the illustration.

  1. Start the engine and run it at the specified rpm. Aim the timing light at the crankshaft pulley on upright fan engines and at the engine cooling fan on the suitcase engines. The rubber plug in the fan housing will have to be removed before the timing marks on Type 3 and Type 4 engines can be seen.
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  3. Read the timing and rotate the distributor accordingly.
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Rotate the distributor in the opposite direction of normal rotor rotation to advance the timing. Retard the timing by turning the distributor in the normal direction of rotor rotation.

  1. It is necessary to loosen the clamp at the base of the distributor before the distributor can be rotated. It may also be necessary to put a small amount of white paint or chalk on the timing marks to make them more visible.
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